Watch how cement-free concrete bendsS. Himmelstein | March 05, 2020
A sustainable alternative to traditional concrete, the most widely used material worldwide, has been formulated by researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Synthesized with coal fly ash and other industrial wastes, the new geopolymer composite is as strong as common concrete but possesses some flexibility: High tensile strength lets the material bend under strain, making it suitable for construction in areas prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters. The composite is cured at ambient temperature and eliminates the need to use cement, which translates into 76% less carbon emissions and 36% lower energy consumption compared with conventional concrete manufacture.
Short polymeric fibers in the concrete mixture are largely responsible for its ductile properties, allowing the material to sustain multiple hair-sized cracks under tension or bend without breaking or shattering. Laboratory tests demonstrated the new concrete to be 400 times more bendable than conventional concrete.